Actress, Playwright
Danai Gurira
Danai Jekesai Gurira
BornDanai Jekesai Gurira
(1978-02-14) February 14, 1978 (age 44)
Grinnell, Iowa, USA
EducationDominican Convent High School, Macalester College, Tisch School of the Arts
  • Actress
  • Playwright
Years active2004 to present
Known forActing
Parent(s)Roger Gurira (father) and Josephine Gurira (mother)

Danai Gurira is an actress, playwright and a producer who is based in the United State of America (USA) who rose to fame in 2004 when she starred in a drama series Law and Order: Criminal Intent. From then onwards, Danai has been a force to reckon with, producing, directing and starring in many films. She has also won many accolades.

In December 2018, Gurira visited Zimbabwe to raise awareness against poaching activities that were depleting Zimbabwe’s wildlife population.[1]. Danai also graced the launch of the anti-poaching campaign which ran under the theme Poaching Steals From Us All at ZIMPARKS gardens in Harare.

On 2 December 2018, Gurira was appointed United Nations (UN) Women Goodwill Ambassador.


Danai was born Danai Jekesai Gurira on 14 February 1978 in Grinnell, Iowa City in USA.[2] Her father, Roger Gurira was a chemistry professor and her mother Josephine Gurira was a librarian. Danai's family relocated to Zimbabwe in 1983 after having been in the USA for almost a decade.[2] She attended Dominican Convent High School.


Danai stated that she started acting at 13 after when she attended a Children' Performing Art workshop.[3] From then onward, Danai never looked back. After finishing her high school studies, Danai relocated back to the USA. She started to focus on her acting career after graduating from Macalester College with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.[3] She was enrolled at Tisch School of the Arts.[3]

In 2004, Danai launched her professional career as an actress when she starred in a drama series, Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The following year, she co-authored, In The Continuum and also starred in the play. She won several awards for her role in the play.[3] In 2007, she starred in the film, The Visitor and her popularity on screen increased.[2] Danai is mostly celebrated for her role in the American television series, The Walking Dead in which she stars as Michonne who is always engaging in long and running battles with zombies. She also appeared in the Marvel Comics movie Black Panther as Okoye who was described as the leader of the Dora Milaje which was the elite Wakandan security force. The movie was released on 6 July 2018.[4]

Philanthropic work

In 2011, she co-founded an organisation called Almosi with the aim of promoting the growth of arts in Zimbabwe.[3]


  1. Obie Award for her play In the Continuum and Outer Critic Circle Award (2006)
  2. Black Reel Aard for Best Actress (2013)


  1. Law and Order: Criminal Intent (2004)
  2. In the Continuum (2005)
  3. The Visitor (2007)
  4. Ghost Town (2008)
  5. Come and Gone, Life on Mars (2009)
  6. 3 Yard, My Soul to Take (2010)
  7. Treme, Restless City (2011)
  8. The Convert, Treme, The Walking Dead (2012)
  9. Mother of George (2013)
  10. Familiar (2015)
  11. Black Panther (2018)


Danai was selected to read Lynn Nottage's play Foundation (The Re-introduction of Udire) in New York, USA and Kudzai Sevenzo was selected to be part of this event.[5]

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  1. Black Panther star Danai in Zimbabwe, The Chronicle, retrieved: 20 Dec 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 About Danai Gurira, FaceBook, Published:2010,Retrieved:28 January 2015"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 AP Gurira: Zim helped shape theatre passion, New Zimbabwe, Published:6 Jan 2014, Retrieved: 28 Jan 2015"
  4. Megan Peters, Danai Gurira Cast In Black Panther, Comic Book, published: July 23, 2016, retrieved: July 25, 2016,
  5. , Sophia Chese Sevenzo stars in Danai Gurira's new production, The Herald, Published:28 Jan 2015,Retrieved:28 January 2015"